Friday, 11 May 2018

Derbies and Baby Horses

Straight to the point: My sweet little mule is possibly definitely the best baby horse to ever trot on four legs and tranter over 2 foot logs.

So fierce over her first fence of the day!
Shiraz was a total star for last weekend's derby and I was not expecting any of it. I mentally prepared myself for a spooky, jigging horse that *might* be able to complete the pace round I had entered and most definitely would be skipping a lot of jumps in the two following starter rounds I entered subsequent to pace.

Skeptical of the bales but happy to try anyways!
We had a "Meet the Fences" on Saturday with a coach for an hour and a half and it started out pretty much as I was expecting. Shiraz was tense and a bit worried about the other horses in our group, especially when they trotted or cantered up behind her which resulted in some fantastical spook/flails. I tried to ride like it was all no big deal though and stay relaxed, clear in my aids and help her feel supported.

Just the prettiest though :D
What I found cool though was that she relaxed more and more as we began to jump things. By the end of the lesson we had jumped everything coach had asked us and Shiraz was feeling like her sweet, lazy, lovable self - something I haven't seen much of since she has been at the new boarding barn.

Less effort and sloppy knees but happy horse as she relaxed in the field. 
This left me feeling much more confident about what was to come on Sunday, but I still had no idea how Shiraz would feel about heading out on the field on her own.

A little luck sewn on because I was feeling I would need it. :)
Sunday was an early start as I was second on the order of go for my pace round first thing in the morning. It did not leave much room for settling in time but we headed off on our pace round at a stiff trot and stayed in that trot for the entire round. And we lived, so success!

Heading out onto the field on our own with random jump judges scattered about, I could almost hear the wheels in Shiraz's brain turning trying to figure out what the hell we were even doing.

The best pony acting like an old show pro on derby day.
We had a short break before our starter round which was just enough time to finish settling in and get comfortable over the warmup cross rails. We headed out again at the trot and Shiraz did a great job of listening to me and jumped every fence on course. The toughest part was heading through the trees to move into the second field that we had not practiced in the day before, but she listened to me through her fear which was very cool to ride.

Video of Saturday practice
 

For my final round I did the starter course again. This time we cantered everywhere it felt doable and Shiraz was starting to discover the game. She was much more relaxed and I could feel she had a better idea of what the plan was.


Six years ago I started shopping for a baby that could some day take me over xc safely. Five years ago I found her and it has been the LONGEST wait watching her grow up. But here we are and she can do this crazy sport! It is just such an exciting moment to see the dream become reality and also such a relief that I chose the right baby for me (because buying a baby can be such a gamble). This was a great start to the derby season to say the least and I can't wait for the next one!

6 comments:

  1. So awesome! She is so cute and you both look like you are having fun. How cool is it that she settles as you jump her more! Really great update.

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  2. Congratulations! It sounds like she really trusts you. She’s a lovely horse and you look great on her.

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  3. Ahhh! This is so wonderful to hear. So freaking excited for you <3

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  4. omgoshhhhh how did i miss this post???? you guys look incredible, and i love the videos!! how cool that Shiraz just grew and grew in confidence throughout the experience! what a good baby, she already looks like a pro <3

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  5. So awesome! Congratulations, it's so exhilarating when you are able to complete something with your baby horse that you were skeptical of before. confidence boosting indeed!

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